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Infotainment:

How prime time "news magazines" became more like their tabloid counterparts


Economics The Nature of TV Sensationalism The Pull of Celebrity Now What? References Links

This decade has seen the perfection of the tabloid story. Lyle and Eric Menendez, Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco, John and Lorena Bobbitt, Gennifer Flowers, Jon Benet Ramsey, Tonya Harding, Kato Kaelin, Dodi Fayed and Monica Lewinsky have become well known celebrities, not through talent or hard work, but through scandal. As the 1990's have progressed, these types of pulp stories have dominated not only the tabloid magazines at the grocery store, but also prime time television news magazines. Ten years ago, only two hour long evening news programs existed, the tried and true CBS's 60 Minutes, and ABC's 20/20. Now these "news magazines" dominate a huge percentage of prime time. There are two 60 Minutes, three 20/20s, and five Dateline NBC's. These programs are produced by the news departments of the three major networks, giving them a supposed veracity and credence.

Of course, this plethora of news programming did not happen overnight. Many syndicated half-hour "reality" programming proceeded a number of these programs. Rupert Murdoch's "A Current Affair", "Hard Copy", "Inside Edition", "American Journal" as well as others proved quite marketable in the early half of this decade. While most of these programs have disappeared, there slack seems to have been taken up by more "serious" network journalism…in the form of prime time news magazines.


Economics The Nature of TV Sensationalism The Pull of Celebrity Now What? References Links

This page was composed by Aidan Smith, a graduate student of Telecommunications at the University of Florida. All images are copyrighted, and used here without permission.

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